The announcement tonight (Friday 15 December) that Britvic was closing its Norwich plant was described as ‘a hammer blow for the workers and the economy of Norwich in the run up Christmas’.
Unite, the country’s largest union, also slammed the soft drinks group Britvic Plc for ‘sneaking out’ the news late on a Friday as people are preparing for Christmas.
Unite national officer for the food and drink sector Julia Long branded the announcement as ‘a classic case of trying to bury bad news’.
She said: “This is a hammer blow for the dedicated workforce and their families, especially when it comes just before Christmas. It is bad news for the wider Norfolk economy, especially as we face challenging economic times in 2018.
“Unite will work tirelessly with all key stakeholders to see what can be done, even at this eleventh hour.
“We have about 32 engineering and maintenance members at the Britvic site and we will be providing maximum support and assistance to them in the difficult days and weeks ahead.
“We will be exploring with the company suitable redeployment opportunities within the Britvic group.”
The site is co-owned with Unilever which makes the iconic Colman’s Mustard and that company is understood to be still conducting a review of its half of the site.
Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy, who has the Unilever portfolio, said: “It is very sad news that Britvic is closing its operations in Norwich which potentially has an impact on Unilever workers who the share the same site.
“We have a number of engineering workers on the Unilever site and we will be redoubling our efforts in the next week to get more clarity as to the future of the Unilever part of the site.
“The iconic Colman's Mustard has been produced at the same factory since the 1860s and Unite would strongly like that manufacturing tradition to continue.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.